Saturday, July 21, 2012

Best Craft Show Ever!

Being a crafter I've been to many craft shows over the years and I've been really discouraged going to them the past 10 years.  Not by the quality of crafts necessarily, but by the junkie dime store booths that they are letting in probably to help cover the cost of putting on the craft show.  I find it a real turn off.  Less craft more junk.  I can go to the flea market if I want to buy cheap sunglasses and junkie toys.

The Renegade Craft Fair sat right on the line of crafting and artistry.  No junk at this fair.  Yes, there may be some handmade items that are not your cup of tea, but everything was handmade and slaved over.  I enjoyed looking at each booth and talking with a few of the crafters/artists.  I bought a few things.  An adorable gold fish dish towelnote cards with an adorable poodle on them that looks just like my Little Star, a T-shirt with a T-Rex and a Robot fighting for my son, garden bon bons for my daughter and last but not least a brain ring to help with my Halloween fetish.

I found out about this show from Twinkie Chan.  Who the heck is she?  She's a creative crocheter that specialized in food related items I found out about on Ravelry.  I liked her patterns so much I asked hubby for her book for Christmas (makes things so much easier for hubby.)  She has a blog I like to follow called Twinkie's Blargh.  She mentioned she was going to be at this craft fair in San Francisco and I knew I wanted to go to the fair and to meet her.  So, off I drove in hubby's gas economical car.  It took my 2 hours to get there and park.  It really was a beautiful drive.  No traffic.  No fog.  No agendas other than mine.  Gorgeous views.  Great cheap parking.  It was a day made in heaven.

I found Twinkie Chan's booth at about the hour and a half mark.  Despite being harried from preparing for this show she was friendly and sweet as can be when I asked her to sign my book.  She was just as adorable and cute as one would think.  Just as the food she likes to capture in crochet I wanted to capture her and sit her on a cake.  Oh OK maybe I do sound like a weird stalker.  Really I'm not.

I'm in the middle of making two patterns from her book the Pepperoni Pizza Scarf and Gingerbread Man Scarf.  I bought myself a Twinkie handmade original coffee cup cozy too.  It's done and ready to make me smile.  So, if you don't want to make something yourself you can buy some of her handy work.  She did a beautiful job on the coffee cozy, which reminds me of a Red Velvet Cupcake.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Things I Want To Punch In The Face

I discovered this blog (Things I Want To Punch In The Face) and I am so down with it.  This gal (Jennifer Worick) and I are like one.  We feel the same way about a lot of things.  She describes things I want to punch in the face as: "1) an expression made wildly popular by this blog; 2) a humorous way to convey annoyance or frustration over those little things in life that bug; 3) petty peeves warranting a tongue-in-cheek lashing but involving no physical retribution. Synonyms: chap your hide, get your goat, rub the wrong way; Antonyms: make out with, love so much you should marry it, float your boat, blow your skirt up."

It's not as if I'd really punch somone in the face, but sometimes I just feel like it would solve a lot of problems if I could.  Then again maybe that's why the prisons are over crowded.  Crowded with people who couldn't control their urge to actually punch someone in the face.  Fortunately, I have no such problem.

So, in honor of my new found favorite blog I'm going to tell you the thing I want to punch in the face today....

OK Mr. Lazy Ass Muscle Man do you really need to squeeze between the rowing machines occupied by rowers one being myself to get to the treadmills?  Do you really need to save yourself 20 steps by not walking around the treadmills to get on a treadmill and do some.... walking?  Do you really need to bump into the elbows of the people rowing or in my case make me pull in my elbows, so you can do 20 feet less walking before you get on the treadmill and walk.  You're just rude.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Vitamix - My New Love

I'd been eyeballing the Vitamix blender for years, but $500 for a blender...YIKES!  A few years ago wanting to get more fruits and veggies into my day I bought a juicer.  It was probably around $300.  I did enjoy juicing.  Only problem is I didn't do it as much as I thought I would for 2 reasons.  One it would extract all the pulp/fiber from the fruits and veggies which seemed counterproductive to a health regimen.  Secondly, OMG what a pain in the butt to clean.  All I wanted to do was sit down and enjoy a glass of juice, but I had 30 minutes of washing to do.  Don't dare let it sit and soak or it would be days before I'd get around to the chore and I do mean chore of cleaning it.  I guess there is a 3rd reason I didn't like juicing.  As I said it extracted the pulp and I'd have this big bowl of pulp and it seemed like such a waste to throw it away.  There were recipes for baking up a loaf of something with the pulp added, but it was not appetizing at all.

So, I was at Costco a few months ago and they were selling the Vitamix again.  I had heard from 2 friends and my trainer over the course of several months expounding on the virtues of their Vitamix blenders.  I decided to take the plunge.  At Costco the blender was still $400.  Still seemed steep, but I took the plunge.  I bought a bunch of fruit and veggies at Costco before I came home and began making a smoothie.  I fell in love.  The next thing I made was the broccoli cheese soup.  It showed the blender steaming in the videos that came with the blender.  I just couldn't believe it.  It's true in 5 minutes I had steaming delicious broccoli cheese soup.

These days I mostly make a fruit and veggie smoothie in the morning for breakfast.  I feel like I can't start my day without my zap of healthy fruits and veggies.

And the major big plus of the Vitamix is the cleaning!!  I rinse out the blender and lid.  Add 5 cups of really warm water, 2 drops of dish soap as per the instructions with Vitamix.  Run blender on high for 1 minute.  Rinse out the soap and sit in the dish drainer.  BAM!  Ready for next smoothie.  While it's doing it's 1 minute of cleaning I'm getting the straw for my smoothie and enjoying a sip.

My favorite is the Sailor Man Green Smoothie.  Why its called the Sailor Man I'm not sure.  I would think it would have lime in it to prevent scurvy.  I made it the first few times exactly like the recipe called for.  It came out this gorgeous green color and tasted so good.  Then I started to tweak it to my preferences.  I just don't have vanilla yogurt on hand I had plain nonfat.  So, I use it and add a squirt of honey.  Don't want my smoothie to be sour.  Then I got to not liking having a half of a brown apple waiting for the next days smoothie.  My daughter suggested I just throw the whole apple in.  She's so smart, but I wanted something more healthy and started leaving the apple out and putting in a carrot.  I usually have frozen bananas and frozen pineapple ready for the smoothie, but I occasionally have fresh.  Because I work out so much these days and I'm prone to leg cramps I'll sometimes had some coconut water for some extra potassium.  The added coconut water also helps the smoothie whirl up.  Sometimes if I have frozen pineapple, frozen banana and ice it will become real thick and not easy to drink right away.  Mama needs to drink her smoothie and get to gym!

Below is the original Sailor Man Green Smoothie recipe.  Hope you try it soon it's really good.

1/2 banana, peeled
1/2 cup (80 g)grapes
1 cup (30 g) fresh spinach
1/2 apple, cored
1/4 cup (60 ml) vanilla yogurt
2 oz (56 g) pineapple
1 cup (240 ml) ice

Place all ingredients into the container in the order listed and secure lid.

Select Variable 1.

Turn machine on and quickly increase speed to Variable 10, then to High. If necessary, use the tamper to press the ingredients into the blades while processing.

Blend for 1 minute or until smooth.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Last Night's Dinner - Fritata!

It's summer time and the summer squash has come rolling in.  Since I was home alone last night I decided to have a fritata for dinner.  My Grandma introduced me to fritatas my first tip to California when I was 14 years old.  Since it was late in the day when I flew in and she knowing I needed a good dinner she made a fritata.  She was the secretary for a high mucky muck in the California state government.  Can't remember the title off the top of my head.  Anyhow she had a long work day and wanted to make something easy too.  It was very easy....vegetables, eggs and cheese.  It was also very good.

My fritata started off with a dash of olive oil.  I threw in 2 sliced yellow crookneck squash.  Normally, I'd also cut up an onion and mince some garlic.  It was just me and I wanted simple.  I stir fried the squash.  I added garlic powder, onion powder and some Lawry's Season salt.  Then I stirred up two eggs and poured it over the top of the squash right there in the skillet.  I sprinkled some parmesan cheese over the top of it all. While I waited for the egg to set I microwaved some leftover basil sauce I had made the night before with chicken, spinach and feta sausage sliced into it.  I had about 1/2 cup leftover.

The fritata was so thin since it was one serving that I scraped it out of the pan and it looked more like a scramble on the plate.  I didn't care.  I spooned my hot basil sauce over the top and it was a dinner fit for a King.  368 calories.

Friday, July 6, 2012

"You cannot out-exercise a bad diet"

This became obvious to me after about 6 weeks of exercising.  I was working out so hard.  I was sore and tired every week, but knew I was working toward getting stronger.  I was putting all this hard work into exercising and felt I needed to respect the hard work through healthier eating.  I knew it was time to start watching what I ate.  I vowed I'd never go on a diet ever again.  They just never work for me.  Nothing makes me feel more oppressed than tightly controlling what I eat.  I decided this go around that I would just tweak my current eating pattern.  I did eat pretty healthy for the most part.  I needed to do just a few things.

First off I found that I really don't eat enough on a regular basis.  Years of being overweight made me feel I shouldn't eat much every day.  Then I'd have one day that week where I'd eat too much.  The doctor told me I was starving myself and my body was holding on to the fat.

Secondly I ate very little protein.  I really didn't know this until my trainer told me that she wanted me to eat about 80g of protein and wanted me to use to track my intact of food.  I thought this would be good to make me eat enough every day.  Never dreaming I didn't get enough protein.  After my first week my trainer pointed out that I didn't even eat 25% of the protein I needed.  I found it very difficult the first few months to eat enough protein.  I got a protein powder that I added to a breakfast shake to get me close to eating enough protein.  I started having a little cheese during the day.  I started eating a handful of almonds or a sprinkle of sliced almonds on my cereal every day.  I started putting chicken on all of the salads I ate.  I started eating Greek yogurt, which has more protein.  Now I don't use the protein powder any more.  I am more intuned with eating protein during my day.

The third tweak was reducing my simple carb intact.  I love candy, cookies, bread, rice, potatoes etc.  I knew this was going to be my hardest hurdle.  I crave simple carbs like a addict craves drugs or alcohol.  I've talked with my doctor about this many times over the years with no real solution other than to just gut it out.  Just don't eat them.  That's all well any good until I'm cruising the kitchen in the background I can hear the sound track to the "Jaws" shark right before it attacks.  Fortunately, for me I had quit drinking diet soda.  I didn't know what a big affect it had on me and my craving for simple carbs.  I never had withdrawals from candy, but I did have minor withdrawals from diet soda.  It took me about 2 months to get past wanting one on a daily basis.  When I quit wanting a diet soda that's when I realized that I had quit wanting candy on a daily basis.  I didn't want candy at all.  I didn't want bread, potatoes, rice or any other carb.  My diet at that point consisted of mostly protein and vegetables with the occasional fruit.  I was greatly relieved that I gave myself permission to have candy whenever I wanted it, but I didn't want it.  Now come PMS week that's still a hard week.  That's when having no candy in the house really pays off.  I can gut it out for a week.

Fourth thing I do is common sense and that's make sure I eat enough vegetables and fruit every day.  I've always eaten them, but I just make sure I eat enough.  My motto is "Put it on a bed of lettuce."  By lettuce I really mean a salad that usually consists of lettuce, tomato, cucumber, green onions, carrot, and avocado.  Sometime I'll throw some cabbage in there if I have it.  OH and let's not forget spinach.  I almost alway have half lettuce and half spinach.  If I roast a chicken I dice mine up and put it on my salad.  I've put chili on a salad.  I've found a lot of things go well on a salad.  The salad really plumps up the meal for me.  Makes them main course go further with less food.

The above picture is my favorite breakfast.  I have it nearly every morning.  1/2 cup of Greek nonfat plain yogurt. Diced fruit usually strawberries, but apricots have been in season and they've been really good too.  Then I'll have granola.  Still trying to find the perfect healthy Granola.  This one is Bare Naked Vanilla with almonds 1/4 cup.  I do put a squirt of honey on the yogurt.  The plain is just too sour for me.  I've also found bite sized shredded wheat non frosted is really good instead of granola too.